The start of a new year is an important moment—a time to look back on the previous year and give thanks for everything that allowed it to be special. Wilmer Arias of NPH Guatemala shares his three top moments of 2018. January 7, 2019 - Guatemala
Wilmer is happy to share his story and inspire others.
At age nine, Wilmer Arias was struck by a stray bullet and spent the next two months in a coma. Today, he is in a wheelchair. That one event changed his life completely. What might have seemed like the end to some, turned out to be a bridge that would allow him to have wonderful experiences and go beyond what he once dreamed he could do.
Upon joining NPH Guatemala in 2001, Wilmer had the opportunity to continue his studies. He worked hard and eventually entered Rafael Landivar University, a Jesuit school in Guatemala City where he specialized in business administration.
"I never imagined the blessings that would come after I suffered this accident."
2018 brought a series of surprises and opportunities that amazed Wilmer. Three moments stand out as the most impactful.
1. A Trip to Spain for a Surgery Performed by Dr. Cavadas
Doctors and international specialists diagnosed Wilmer’s situation, which had worsened over time due to medical complications, as nearly unfixable and potentially life threatening.
With the support of Marta Garate of NPH International and NPH Spain, however, Wilmer made a trip to Spain in February 2018. A second chance at life came to him through an intensive surgery with the renowned Dr. Pedro Cavadas.
"It was a very painful process—a struggle—and I needed a lot of faith. In spite of everything, I decided to move forward. At the beginning we thought it [post-surgery recovery] would only be two months, but Dr. Cavadas discovered other complications. In total I was in Spain for five months. It was necessary to perform two high-risk surgeries, but it was worth it."
Wilmer says, "Having my goals in mind, an attitude of gratitude, and a deep desire to continue living were some of the things that kept me alive."
2. A Master’s Degree in Marketing with a Specialization in E-Commerce
"During my hospital recovery, I decided to use this time to research academic opportunities, but there were challenges. I persisted and found success as the news of the surgery came out."
With pride, Wilmer says, "I fought for this opportunity and I got it! Besides studying business administration at Landivar, I have also received certifications from other universities. And the European Graduate Institute gave me a full scholarship."
3. A Night at the Spanish Embassy
The story of Wilmer traveled around the world and gave hope to all those who pray for miracles. The Spanish Ambassador to Guatemala Alfonso Portabales took notice and invited him to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Day on October 12 in the capital city.
Wilmer concludes, "I would like to express my great gratitude, especially to [Executive Director] Xavier Adsará and the entire team of NPH Spain for their unconditional support for me to have access to an opportunity that I had been seeking for years."
Sofia López Communcation Officer
You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson